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Inspirata, Case Western Awarded $3.3M Grant to Develop Image-Based Breast Cancer Dx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cancer diagnostics firm Inspirata and Case Western Reserve University have been awarded a five-year, $3.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a digital pathology image-based assay for personalized breast cancer treatment, the company announced today.

Called CHIP — short for computerized histologic image predictor of cancer outcome — the assay uses a digital image of a standard H&E stained tumor tissue sample, evaluating the tumor landscape using algorithms that assess morphological features to identify early-stage estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients who are candidates for hormone therapy alone and ones who should also receive adjuvant chemotherapy.

"These image-based assays can be used to grade the aggressiveness of an individual's disease signature, which means that patients with less aggressive cancers can be spared more aggressive treatments like chemotherapy," Inspirata Founder and Executive Vice President Mark Lloyd said in a statement.

According to Inspirata, the CHIP assay does not destroy a tissue sample, can deliver results in minutes, and is expected to be "substantially" cheaper than Genomic Health's roughly $4,000 OncoType Dx breast cancer test, which uses gene-expression analysis to predict chemotherapy benefit and risk of disease recurrence.

With the NCI funding, Inspirata and Case Western aim to create a pre-commercial companion diagnostic based on the CHIP technology. The company will also lay out a regulatory pathway to bring the assay to the market.